cutting ornamental border

Hi Printer Peeps,

I recently bought some ornamental border, and most of the lengths are too big for my 5x8 chase. I’d like to cut the pieces to a useable length, and I’d LOVE to have mitered corners so that I can seamlessly join the pieces into a continuous frame. My husband has a bandsaw, and he thinks he can use this to cut the stuff the way I want it. Anyone got any ideers on this?


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Is this metal or wood?

If it is metal, you can use a slug cutter and a miterer. I’m partial to the H. B. Rouse ones. Neither are expensive if you check eBay or Letterpress Things, just be careful that they are not missing parts. But it probably isn’t precious- it couldn’t hurt to let your husband try cutting it for you with the saw he has.

If it is wood, I’d suggest saving it for a bigger press instead of chopping it up.


It’s lead, 6 point. The longest pieces are about 8 inches long. There’s a lot of one particular style, so I don’t mind sacrificing a bit of that. I had thought of a slug cutter, but I haven’t used one yet and am not sure if it’d do mitered corners. I can try it at the IPRC here in PDX if the bandsaw doesn’t work.

Cutting and Mitering Slugs, and spacing from The U.K. perspective, ordinary simple hand operated cutter, O.K. up to a point but only crude action and above 3 point leaving a little to be desired. Next up as D.G.M. implies Hand Cranked Mitre Device, (not a cutter!) simple rotary disc, (akin to the size of a dinner plate) rotated in vertical mode, with one blade inset at an angle, adjusted to remove as little as possible material, per stroke, to take the rough square end of the material (lead) slug etc down to exactly 45 degrees at each end, and to final exact length for box making, the machine normally equipped with *V* block back guide to give Left hand Mitre, Right hand Mitre or completely square for exact length on the slug, a little slow but 100% accurate.
With a little practice, on duff product, it was quite possible to make the perfect square, with, for example 6 point lead rule with 3 point face, to view and print, with 8 mitred corners, to sit around a 4 em x 4 em Monotype quad, to give an almost perfect box for the front of a prepaid/reply envelope!!! or similar and on, up the scale, to Borders for Certificates and the like.. . In 2 colour etc.
The Monotype Supercaster produced rule in many face variations, from 2 point up to 18 point, and in some cases, for example, 12 point or bigger with up to 6 rules to view on one body/matrix, for precisely Certificate Borders and similar, the hand mitre worked Perfectly, albeit slowly, on any length, desired rule.!!!
Next step up is/was the *Rouse* power mitre Machine, some would say the *Rolls Royce* because it was motor driven, with one cutter working in the vertical plane, across the face/path of the product, clamped at every pass!!!
So precise that, for example, it was possible, to set to such a fine limit, that to make a perfect box (mitred) the machine would leave the tiniest *hinge* on 3 corners to give the wrap around to perfection, OR it was possible to set the machine to accurately strip the face, down from, say 12 point Full Face to any thinner face to print and view, i.e. 9 point face on 12 point body.??
Apologies, Silly Ramblings but may help the learning curve.

Your husband can probably cut this on his bandsaw with a fine-toothed metal-cutting blade and a zero-clearance table insert. You’ll probably want to build a mitering sled for the saw’s table, as well. This is just a wooden bar that slides in the table’s track, a plywood plate that slides on the surface of the table attached to that bar, and a second bar about 7/8” tall and maybe 1 1/2” thick set at 45 degrees to the angle of the cut attached to the top of the plate and extending almost to the blade. The angled bar and plate make a pocket your border rule can be clamped to for cutting.

You could also use a store-bought mitering sled, but they are generally adjustable which makes them less accurate. For this use, you want something absolutely rigid and perfectly angled for the best lockup and printing.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

A Rouse hand miterer is a great tool in a non-motorized shop. With a slug cutter you can do more than can be done with a motorized saw. There are various miterer models, but all can be used to square off the end of a slug (if you are careful you can shave up to a specific design element), and with the pica gauge you can finish to an exact length, as accurate as using a saw. You can also shave ends to 45 degrees for a mitered corner. Some models have other preset angles so you can do hexagons, octagons, etc.
The trick with the hand miterer is to put a slip of paper under the foot as the slug is trimmed. That way the corners meet when locked up.

Wow! You guys have been very helpful. I will pass this all along to the man of the house. (Not that a woman can’t do it, but I’d rather he risk his fingers and temper….)

I’m firmly in the Band-Saw camp on this one. If he’s careful, there is no reason he can’t produce a nice clean cut as long as he uses the finest metal-cutting blade and a mitre-gauge. I routinely cut hand-carved (or lazer-cut nowadays) wood borders for my own work, and it turns out great.